Kachi watched, his heart in his throat as the jury convened after 14 hours of deliberation on his case. He sat beside his very expensive lawyer, Jeremiah Sands and held his breath, hoping and praying for the best even as tears slipped out of his eyes. God, what had he done to deserve this?
Mr Sands: “Pull yourself together, Mr Onwumere. I know how tough this is but you must not lose hope. Anything can happen at this moment, I need you to concentrate.”
Kachi: “I can’t!! My life is finished!” He cried as he thought of all he had been through in the past 2 months.
He had come back to the huge 6 bedroom house he shared with his Black American older wife one evening almost 10 weeks ago and had been vaguely surprised when he could not find his wife and children, never thinking anything was amiss. He had searched all over the house and had eventually gone into the basement where he had found the body of his wife and that of his 2 young children, Mason and Charlotte.
He had screamed several times and checked to see if they were still alive, they weren’t. He checked their bloodied bodies and saw they had all been stabbed several times and left for dead but he didn’t know by whom. He sat there shocked for almost an hour before he decided to move. Believing, erroneously that he was going to be the first suspect for the murder of his wife and children, he stupidly didn’t call the police.
Later that night, around 10pm, after making sure none of their surburban neigbours were awake or prowling, he had bundled the bodies of his wife, 6 year old daughter and 4 year old son into big disposable bags, taken them out to his wife’s sedan and driven to the corner of a deserted airfield a county away and buried them without telling anyone. He came back, cleaned up and made preparations to leave the vicinity.
A few days before the murder, he and his wife had pulled a very big scam involving almost 30 million dollars and had already packed up in readiness to leave the country with their children before the FBI caught up with them. He had personally cleaned out their accounts and made plans that would enable them leave the following week.
The next morning however, just after he finished packing up, the NYPD arrived at his door and arrested him for the murder of his wife and children. According to them, his motive had been the tidy sum of 30 million dollars his wife had siphoned from the company where she had worked.
They believed he and his wife had been partners in the scheme but when the time to share the money came, he had gotten greedy and decided to make away with the money all alone so had killed his wife and children and had buried them disrespectfully.
His pleas and denials made no difference to them. They had evidence that screams were heard in his house at the time of their death, his finger prints were found on the murder weapon, a long kitchen knife that had been in his kitchen for years, his fingerprints were also on the shovel used to bury them and his bloodied shirt found where he had buried it along with their bodies.
They also had evidence that he had closed all of his wife’s accounts before the murder and so the murder had been premeditated. He tried to tell them that he met them dead when he got home but there was no proof that anyone else had been in the house or that the house was broken into. He also tried to convince them that he had only buried them out of fear for his own life but that to them was further confirmation that he had indeed killed them.
His case had only been investigated for only a few days before the investigating officers had been sure they had enough on him to bring him to court and nail him. The case was very high profile because of the role his wife had played in embezzling from a huge conglomerate.
A whole month of examination of witnesses and the suspect himself had drained him and left him feeling hopeless. The Prosecution’s witnesses, which included members of his wife’s family had mentioned several times how he and his wife had constantly had problems and even neighbours could testify to the fact that they were always fighting.
Kachi agreed he and Dorothea had had issues but he had loved her and his kids. No woman had ever suited him so well. Despite the fact that she was older than him, she had treated him like he was boss and hadn’t even minded his womanising at the beginning of their marriage and when she had found out about how he specialised in Scamming people for a living, all she had wanted was to join in the business.
Turned out, she had a flair for scamming. She had a natural gift for making people comfortable and she could blend in with any crowd. From the moment she joined him, he witnessed amazing growth in his business and he became even more grounded as a husband and father. He stopped womanising and keeping late nights but was more focused on business and his family.
Their business had boomed and soon, they executed several high profile embezzlement schemes that left them very rich, comfortable and under the radar of the FBI. However, because of how careful they were, no one could get them easily which was why he selfishly hadn’t called the police when he got home to see his family murdered. He hadn’t wanted their backgrounds investigated.
If he had known this would happen, he would have called the police and faced an embezzlement case instead of going through a murder trial, he though as he wept sadly. A lot of the money he and his wife had scammed out of innocent people had gone into getting a good lawyer to get him out of spending the rest of his life in prison and he wasn’t even sure he succeeded.
As he sat in his orange scrub at the defence table, looking at the men and women who held his life in their hands, he promised himself and God that if he ever got out of this, he would go back to Nigeria and live the rest of his life as a peace-loving farmer.
Judge: “Has the jury reached a verdict?”
Foreman of the Jury: “Yes Your Honor, we have.”
Judge: “Will the defendant rise to hear the decision of the Jury?”
Kachi rose, along with his lawyers as he tried to put on an air of composure but inside he had failed woefully, he was really, really afraid. This pronouncement could mean life or death for him.
FOTJ: “In the case of the State of New York versus Mr Kachi Onwumere, we the jury find the defendant guilty of first degree murder with intent.”
Kachi fainted as the people in the courtroom started jubilating.
Biggie felt very heavy as he switched off the TV, the depression he felt as he saw what had become of a guy he used to call friend left him feeling very sad. He walked to the windows of his house on the island and looked out. He was unable to remove Kachi’s miserable face from his mind and he wished after all this time that they could go back to who they used to be before life separated them.
He and Kachi had known each other since they were children. They had played together and run around together. Whatever he had done, Kachi had done and they had gone to the same schools all their lives. When he had gotten admission into Rhaddeus and Kachi hadn’t been able to afford it, they had worked hard to ensure Kachi went to the state University so they could still be close.
After that though, things had gone downhill fast. When he had started dating Debo immediately he got into school, Kachi had felt jealous, alone and resentful. In a bid to make up for his sudden preoccupation with a girl, he introduced Kachi to the guys he had just started hanging out with, without finding out their real characters.
It wasn’t long before the easily corruptible Kachi had started manifesting different attitudes. By the time he learnt who and what the guys he had introduced Kachi to actually were, Kachi had been too far gone. He had hung out with the guys so he could monitor Kachi and get him out of their clutches but the idiot had only sunk deeper.
As he remembered the scene on the high profile televised trial, he wanted to believe that Kachi was incapable of doing what he had been accused of but he wasn’t sure. The Kachi he had known had been a part of a group of guys who were responsible for the disappearance of a teenage girl years ago who was found only a few months ago, dead and buried.
No, Biggie knew that whatever Kachi had been accused of doing, he was very capable of doing. As he started outside his window brooding, he felt arms wrap around his waist and he held unto them as his wife leaned forward and he saw her worried face.
Debo: “What is it?”
Biggie: “It’s nothing.”
Debo: “No, don’t say that. It’s something, just tell me what.”
Biggie: “They found Kachi guilty of murder”
Debo: “Oh, dear! What does that mean for him?”
Biggie: “Murder in the First degree? It would be a miracle if he got life imprisonment.”
Debo: “You think they would kill him?”
Biggie nodded his head
Debo: “Oh dear, I’m so sorry. I know you were hoping for a different outcome.”
Biggie: “I was but you know what? I’m not surprised. I knew something was going to happen to him very soon. Ever since, they found Ada’s body, I knew a time of reckoning would come for all of us.”
Debo: “All of us? You had nothing to do with it!!”
Biggie: “I knew they were thinking of something!”
Debo: “You told them to stop but they didn’t listen. That’s not on you!!”
Biggie: “And what did I do after I realised that? Nothing!”
Debo: “It wasn’t your place, baby. It wasn’t, you went your own way.”
Biggie: “Sometimes, silence is just as bad a betrayal.”
Debo: “Look at me!” She said as she dragged his face towards hers, “You are not responsible for what happened, okay? We have paid our dues. We have suffered and waited for whatever sins we committed.” She said as she took his hand and placed it against her enormous belly. “God won’t punish us for something we weren’t responsible for. You didn’t know so He can’t hold you accountable. Okay?”
Debo: “Good. Now, come and give me a massage and leave God to take care of his own” She dragged him and he laughed as he followed her upstairs.
He really had paid his dues, he and Debo had gotten married almost immediately after their Youth service and started building their lives together. It came as a surprise first and a trial later when they weren’t able to have a child for several years of their marriage. When they started having money, they had run all the requisite tests necessary but the doctors hadn’t found anything wrong with them.
When Debo hadn’t taken in for years, she was sure Biggie would leave her but he hadn’t. Besides the fact that he loved her quite desperately, he had been very sure that God was punishing him for keeping silent over the disappearance of Ada. It took him a while to accept that he wasn’t going to suffer indefinitely for something he hadn’t known about.
It came as a surprise when after 16 years of marriage, after they had stopped trying that Debo had fallen sick only for them to realise that she was pregnant with twins. He was so grateful, he couldn’t hide his gratitude to God for the miracle of a pregnancy that they had never had before. All he was asking God now was to forgive his sins and let his wife deliver safely.
Seems Kachi just got served! More to come in the next Episode!
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